As far as Carli Lloyd was concerned, she was on just another field, doing what she does best.
The difference Tuesday was that she was on an NFL field when she pulled back her right leg and sent a ball straight and true for 55 yards, stirring up all sorts of buzz with a viral video. Lloyd, a two-time World Cup winner, twice an Olympic gold medalist and twice FIFA player of the year, made football look as easy as futbol as Sam Koch of the Baltimore Ravens held for her field goal attempt after a joint practice with the Philadelphia Eagles at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia.
Her kick was money. So much so that it got one veteran NFL observer musing about whether the time was approaching when a woman might kick for an NFL team. “Honestly, I don’t think it will be long before we see a woman break through this NFL barrier,” Gil Brandt, the Dallas Cowboys’ vice president of player personnel from 1960 to 1988, tweeted.
Note that Lloyd, a 37-year-old who plays for the NWSL’s Sky Blue franchise in New Jersey, wasn’t facing pressure and she was taking too many approach steps. All of which was pointed out to Brandt, who countered, “I heard the same kind of things when I was bringing in track athletes and soccer players back in the ’60s.”
Brandt wasn’t kidding, and he offered a reminder of just how problematic kicking was in the NFL last season. Mason Crosby of the Green Bay Packers missed five kicks in one game (four field goals and one extra point) ; Week 11 was a record-setting day for missed extra-point attempts. Extra points! And perhaps no team had a more ignominious experience than the Chicago Bears, whose “double-doink” disaster occurred when Cody Parkey’s potential game-winner from 43 yards out was tipped at the line, then hit the left upright and the crossbar. The Bears lost that wild-card game 16-15 to the Eagles.
The team released Parkey in the spring, paying him, as Sports Illustrated pointed out, more to stay away ($3.5 million) than to play. So far, they’ve looked at nine kickers — six rookies, three free agents — and appear to have settled on Eddy Pineiro.
“I’d give her an honest tryout,” Brandt tweeted, “if I were, say, the Bears.”
Eagles kicker Jake Elliott was impressed. “Unreal stuff,” he tweeted after she made several field goals.
Lloyd is one of the stars of the U.S. women’s national team but, after winning the Golden Ball at the 2015 World Cup, she was a substitute on this year’s World Cup winner. A New Jersey native and an Eagles fan, she wasn’t actually present to make a case for an NFL career as she worked with, among others, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker and Elliott.
“It’s obviously something you don’t get to see very often,” she told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “You get to see the guys playing on a week-to-week basis, but to see what goes into it all — the staff, some of the guys doing extra stuff afterward — it’s cool. It’s different. This is when all the real stuff happens. This is what people don’t get to see. I was glad to be a part of it.”
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